Cromford Canal, Ian Wilson

Cromford Canal, Ian Wilson

Water vole, Terry Whittaker 2020 Vision

Water vole, Terry Whittaker 2020 Vision

Little grebe, Tom Marshall

Little grebe, Tom Marshall 

A former working waterway, now rich in wildlife including dragonflies, grass snakes and water voles.


Cromford Wharf car park
A static map of Cromford Canal SSSI

Know before you go

5 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Park at Cromford Wharf car park, DE4 3RQ

Walking trails

No fencing occurs along the site so care should be taken in places were the path narrows.


There is full access for wheelchairs along the canal towpath if you enter from Chase Road. Please note that there are lots of steps from Whatstandwell station and one stile if you enter from the Ambergate end. There are sections of path that are uneven and narrow making access for those with limited mobility difficult.


On a lead


Picnic area

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Any time of year but we love the autumn colours!

About the reserve

Last used as a working waterway in 1944, this section of the Cromford Canal is now an SSSI for its entire length from Cromford Wharf to Ambergate.

We manage the section from Whatstandwell south east to Ambergate, which is also a Local Nature Reserve. The rich diversity of plant life along this stretch of the canal includes several species that are rare in Derbyshire, making it a vitally important wetland area. Plant life varies from pond weeds in the canal, to bankside species such as water mint and meadowsweet, to meadow and woodland plants on the towpath. The canal attracts many insects, and in summer the bright flashes of dragonflies and damselflies darting over the water are a frequent sight.

Whatever the time of year, you are likely to spot ducks, moorhens and other water birds on the canal itself, as well as woodland birds such as blackbirds, robins and wrens. The canal is also one of the last remaining strongholds in Derbyshire for the water vole.

Habitat destruction and mink predation have affected this creature's numbers in Britain but it is hanging on here. Another declining species that you may be lucky enough to see along the canal is the grass snake. These reptiles are good swimmers, but will disappear from view quickly, so it may take some time and patience to spot one.

Contact us

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01773 881188

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)